“Amber,” Albert Joseph Moore, circa 1877, WikiArt.

Lights blinking, plumbing dripping, when
We lived at childhood home, creaking
Attic steps during winter sea-gales, wind
And rain took its toll, thin-pane windows
Breaking, heavy plastic blowing free. Thus,
Was our house in Stonington, overlooking
Deep lobster bays. Then mother died,
Quickly they said. Adult children, we kept
Family home, mostly empty, prospects of
Retiring, moving back to hilly Stonington.

Years later, I found handwritten letters and
Cards, return address in Waterville, mother’s
Secret lover, all after papa died. Mother was
In love with Maine woman, known as “Amber.”
Attic rocking chair, warming beams of sun,
I poured over bundle of ribbon-tied letters,
Stunned as intrigued, emotions pen flowing,
Sensual, honest, articulate, mother’s closeted
Side of self, family-concealed, loving words
Penned anonymously as “Amber” to “Reader.”

Grappling with discoveries, I hoped Mother’s
“Amber” was imaginary friend, delicate writing,
Card-size prints of Albert J. Moore’s paintings,
Inscribed: “My dearest reader, sweet offerings,”
And “Divine loving eyes.” Letters led to weekend
Assignations, “Tasting apricots amongst stars,
Sun, and silver moon.” Verses with familiar
Ring, “my marvelous radiant flower,” ancient
Homeric Hymns or those of teenage girls,
Playing dress-up, experimenting in the attic.

“Reader,” Albert Joseph Moore, circa 1877, WikiArt.

Next, I found boxes hidden away, pastel gowns,
Full-length, some sheer, water-flowing, others
Deepest topaz blues, emerald greens, drapes
For shoulders, waist, hand-sewn, photos of
Mother, her lover, posing as Moore’s paintings,
Breasts exposed, barefoot dancing, embracing
With champagne flutes. Music enchanted, they
Appeared years younger, two women in love,
Sunlight illuminated. With whom can I share
Such confidences except through poetry?

Written whilst listening to “Instant Karma! (We all Shine
On)” by John Lennon, The Plastic Ono Band & Yoko Ono,
“Power to the People” Deluxe Edition. Somehow it fit.
Thanks for reading.

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